Red-hot 1B Posey shows off speed in win vs Cubs: 'Little faster than I thought'

Red-hot 1B Posey shows off speed in win vs Cubs: 'Little faster than I thought'

SAN FRANCISCO — As umpires back in New York replayed his stolen base over and over again, Buster Posey turned and watched it on the scoreboard at AT&T Park. He looked up at Javier Baez, the Fastest Tagger Alive.

“I think you got me,” Posey said. 

The umpires disagreed, and moments later Posey was racing around third for the final run of a 6-3 win over the Chicago Cubs. 

“It was really close,” Posey said of the play. “I guess I’m a little faster than I thought.”

When the margins are that thin, perhaps he benefits from the occasional position change. With Brandon Belt on the disabled list and a left-hander on the mound, Bruce Bochy shifted Posey to first and put Nick Hundley behind the plate. Posey had a three-run homer. Hundley had a double and guided Ty Blach through his latest strong start. 

Bochy was hesitant when asked if it’s a duo he’ll turn to more often. He would like to get Ryder Jones regular time at first base, with Pablo Sandoval at third. Posey is still the best defensive catcher in the National League, and the Giants won’t move him from his natural position often. 

The results, however, speak for themselves. Posey is batting .444 in 54 at-bats as a first baseman and .302 when he’s behind the plate. 

“It does give him a little break and keeps his legs fresher,” Bochy said.

Posey said there’s a fine line, but noted that first is “definitely less taxing.”

The Giants have always toed that line, and Bochy said he’ll check with Posey to see if he needs a day off Wednesday when the Giants play a day game. The next road trip — to Washington D.C. and Miami — promises to be a scorcher and the coaches will surely keep a close eye on their franchise catcher. 

Belt won’t even be cleared to travel, and as the Giants try to find momentum, maybe they can shift things around for a few weeks. Posey’s numbers at first stand out. Hundley, an offseason addition, is batting .357 over his last 18 games. 

The Giants need to develop Jones and they need to see what they have in Sandoval, but they also want to get that winning taste back, and the Posey-Hundley duo is a pretty good path, especially against lefties. 

“This is workable,” Bochy said. “It is.”

If he does get more time at first, Posey likely will break his modest career-high (six) for stolen bases. He’s perfect in five attempts this season, and he did not think it was a coincidence that good friend Brandon Crawford swiped his third a couple of minutes after Posey took his fifth. 

“Yes, yes, 100 percent (on purpose) — because I’ve already been talking smack,” Posey said. “And I told (Denard) Span that I’m tied with him, so he needs to step it up.”

Former Giants infielder replaces Dodgers' star shortstop on NLCS roster


Former Giants infielder replaces Dodgers' star shortstop on NLCS roster

LOS ANGELES — Shortstop Corey Seager has been left off the Los Angeles Dodgers' roster for the NL Championship Series against the Chicago Cubs.

The Dodgers announced Seager's surprise omission due to a back injury on Saturday, several hours before Game 1 at Dodger Stadium.

Los Angeles also dropped reliever Pedro Baez from its roster. Infielder Charlie Culberson and outfielder Joc Pederson were added.

Chicago made only one change from the last playoff round, adding reliever Hector Rondon and removing reliever Justin Wilson.

Seager complained of back soreness during the Dodgers' NL Division Series clincher in Arizona on Monday, and 2016 NL Rookie of the Year didn't participate in team workouts this week. Still, manager Dave Roberts said Friday that he was very optimistic that Seager would play in the NLCS.

Seager was an All-Star selection this season while batting .295 with 22 homers and 77 RBIs as a key part of the top of the Dodgers' lineup.

Kike Hernandez, Chris Taylor and Culberson all worked out at shortstop Friday for the Dodgers. The versatile Taylor was the Dodgers' center fielder during the NLDS, but he made 96 appearances in the outfield this season and 44 in the infield, including 14 games at shortstop.

Pederson is batting .071 with no homers since July, but the Dodgers could need him in center field if Taylor plays shortstop.

Culberson famously homered to clinch the Dodgers' NL West title in announcer Vin Scully's final home game last season, but the infielder spent most of this season at Triple-A, appearing in only 14 games for the Dodgers.

Rondon was the Cubs' closer in 2014 and 2015, but moved to a setup role last season after Aroldis Chapman's arrival. He appeared in 61 regular-season games this year, going 4-1 with a 4.24 ERA in an up-and-down campaign.

Chicago acquired Wilson in a trade with Detroit on July 31, adding a veteran left-handed reliever who had 13 saves for the Tigers this season. The Southern California native wasn't great in his two months with the Cubs, posting a 5.09 ERA with 19 walks in 23 appearances.

Manager Joe Maddon chose Wilson for the NLDS over Rondon, only to switch it up against the Dodgers.

Bochy, Giants issue statement following manager's heart procedure


Bochy, Giants issue statement following manager's heart procedure

Bruce Bochy's minor offseason heart procedure went as planned, the team announced Friday afternoon. 

In a message passed along to beat reporters, Bochy said "the procedure went extremely well and I'm feeling better. I'm grateful for the doctors and want to thank everyone who has reached out with well wishes."

Bochy, 62, had an ablation procedure to help him deal with heart issues that have plagued him in recent years. The operation was his second of the year, but it was considered minor enough that it could be pushed back to the end of the season.

Cleveland's Terry Francona had a similar procedure this year and returned to manage, and Bochy has left no doubt about his future. 

“I don’t want anyone to think this has an effect on my work, or ability to work,” Bochy said last week. “This is something that is not uncommon.”